This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

March 14 -- Feast of St. Mathilda of Saxony

It seems like an odd thing for a saint to set her sons fighting against her, but that's one of the knocks on Mathilda. When her husband, King Henry the Fowler (great interest in falconry had he) died, she took off her jewels and started handing out royal treasures to the poor. Her son Otto became the next king, but she (apparently) egged Hank Jr.(actually known as Henry the Quarrelsome) into rebellion. She had a third son, St. Bruno the Great, and two daughters, Gerberga and Hedwig, but they apparently all stayed out of the fight.

Otto put little Hank down, but Mathilda somehow persuaded him to name him Duke of Bavaria rather than The Late Prince Henry. Much good it did her. Both her sons tried to shut off her almsgiving, and she quipped that it was nice to see them united, even if it was against her. She then hunkered in retirement until Otto apologized and invited her back. He even let her run the Kingdom while he went to Rome to get his Holy Roman Emperor Crown.

Hank remained quarrelsome, never apologizing, treating his subjects badly, and dying in what more figured was a state of mortal sin. Hopefully having the Archbishop of Cologne bought him a little grace, but probably not.

There's a creepy anecdote toward the end of her life. She was taking a pre-death journey to the place where she'd be buried beside her husband. As if that wasn't creepy enough, she stopped at Mainz to visit her grandson, Bishop William. He heard her confession; then she wanted to give him something but all she had was the winding sheet in which her corpse was supposed to be wrapped. Quoth she: "Give it to William. He will need it before I do." He was dead twelve days later. She continued on her journey, but dying on time and in place.

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